Science Project Help

Hi, for a science project I am working on for a science expo I have decided to use an Arduino to help me collect data and control my prototype. Basically, the machine is supposed to collect water from the bottom of a pond and bring it to the top to help with the circulation of water. I am using a water tank to simulate the pond for my prototype. To be green, I am using a solar panel to power the machine. I am not sure which panel to buy so if you could read how this machine will work, and figure out how much power I will need, that would be wonderful. One of my questions was 'Is it possible to use an Arduino to control electronics (the impeller) that usually are plugged into a 120V power outlet?'. Another question is 'Is it possible to have one solar panel power a battery that powers the arduino and the impeller?'. What I am planning to happen is that when power is on, the Arduino should record how much power is collected from the solar panel using a voltage reader on the battery, again, I do not know how to do this using an Arduino. The impeller will not be running all the time, only at every ____ minutes/hours, or when a button is pushed on the prototype, so constant power is not needed. Thanks,


  1. Power. How big is it? How much water are you moving over what distance and what speed?*
  2. 120V Yes, that's possible, with a relay board or several other methods.
  3. Battery. Yes, that's a much better way to do it.
  4. You need to measure the current and voltage going into the battery. Pololu, Sparkfun and Adafruit are the first 3 places I would look and they all have several suitable current sensors. Remember power is volts x amps and energy is power x time.

*You should probably work out how much power you expect to collect from a reasonably-sized solar panel and then choose a motor and duty cycle (% running time) which will work for that available power.

The science teachers should absolutely love it if you can show your calculations where you worked out you can use motor X for 1% of the time or motor Y for 3% and how that changes in the winter when you get less sun.

Hi Morgan S,

Thank you so much for your input in my project. 1.I am using an impeller that moves 120 gallons of water/hour. 2. Can you please explain that last part you wrote about motor X and Y.


I meant you should show your calculations which allowed you to choose a motor. Even if you chose the motor that was cheapest.